Should Students be Required to Take Drug Tests?

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Alarmingly high levels of illicit drug usage still continue to be a problem among the youth. Drug usage can have vital implications for the future health and happiness of many juveniles as they move forward towards their transition to adulthood. These adolescents who use drugs can have especially high risks of developing mental and physical problems that may interfere with their educational and future occupational pursuits. Therefore, approximately 20 percent of high schools in the United States utilize some form of drug testing as a requirement for students in the very hope of deterring students from using illegal substances (Counsel and Heal). "Even though drug testing sounds good, based on the science, it is not working," said study author Daniel Romer, of the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia. "So as a prevention effort, school drug testing is kind of wrong-headed." Not only does the policy has no effect in deterring the drug use among young people, drug testing is also very expensive, it may steer students away from extracurricular activities, it can result in false positives which would result in the punishment of innocent students, and ultimately it can weaken the delicate trust and relationship between students and teachers. The very first national study conducted in a large scale on student drug testing revealed practically no variance in the rates of the drug usage between schools that has a drug testing policy and the schools that do not. Based on the research done between the years 1998 to 2001 among 76000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades, the research established that drug testing did not have an influence on illicit drug usage among students as well as athletes (Yamaguch... ... middle of paper ... ..."Study: Drug Testing At School Doesn’t Work |" Time. Time, n.d. Ryoko Yamaguchi, Lloyd D. Johnston, and Patrick M. O’Malley, “Relationship between Student Illicit Drug Use and School Drug-Testing Policies,” Journal of School Health 73, no. 4 (2003). Greg Winter, “Study Finds No Sign That Testing Deters Students’ Drug Use,” New York Times, May 17, 2003. Ryoko Yamaguchi, Lloyd D. Johnston, and Patrick M. O’Malley, Drug Testing in Schools: Policies, Practices, and Association With Student Drug Use, Youth, Education, and Society (YES) Occasional Papers Series (Ann Arbor, MI: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2003). Robert Taylor, “Compensating Behavior and the Drug Testing of High School Athletes,” The Cato Journal 16. Andrew Petkofsky, “School Scraps Drug Testing; but Mathews Will Make Kits available,” Richmond Times Dispatch, July 27, 2002.

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